clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Americans Stream 135 Billion Songs in First Half of Year

Taylor Swift's decision to pull her "1989" album from streaming service Spotify did not prevent it from reaching the top of the album charts.

cinek20 / iStock

Americans streamed a staggering 135 billion songs and music videos in the first half of 2015, nearly double this time a year ago, according to the latest data from Nielsen.

Growing demand for songs delivered on demand via Internet services such as Spotify, YouTube, Slacker and others helped fuel overall music consumption in the last six months.

“Obviously, the streaming piece is really great news, when you’re talking about darn near 100 percent growth … with no new players,” Dave Bakula, senior vice president of Nielsen Entertainment, told Re/code, noting the tallies do not reflect the high-profile launch of the updated Apple Music.

The streaming numbers underscore a fundamental shift in how people get their music. Digital song sales fell 10.4 percent to 531.6 million. Total album sales, including CDs and digital albums, declined 4 percent to 116 million units.

Taylor Swift’s “1989” ranked as the top-selling and most-consumed album of the year so far, despite a highly publicized Spotify protest that limited the number of times songs from her new album were streamed (a mere 188,213 times). Still, Swift sold two million albums.

Drake’s album, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” was the No. 2 album with 409 million audio streams and 1.4 million units sold.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.